- The heavy rains have prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to declare high alerts in Fukuoka, Saga, and Nagasaki areas.
- At least 44 people have died in the region, according to the latest figures offered by local authorities.
- The levels of rain have never been observed in the region’s history.
Torrential rains continued this Monday in southwestern Japan, which have so far left at least 45 people dead and several others missing. Several towns across the region have also been left heavily flooded, with massive damage to several homes and infrastructure in general.
The heavy rains have prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to declare high alerts in Fukuoka, Saga, and Nagasaki areas, which are situated on the southwestern island of Kyushu.
The heavy rains are in addition to those that were witnessed over the weekend in Kumamoto and Kyushu, where the majority of fatalities and displacements have so far been recorded.
At least 44 people have died in the region, according to the latest figures offered by local authorities, who also reported another victim with cardiorespiratory arrest. As per the breakdown on the number of fatalities, 14 people died in a nursing home located in an area near the Kuma River that was flooded, the Kumamoto government reported in a press conference.
Rescue efforts, in which members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces are participating, continue in the region, where rainfall has caused river overflows and floods in a dozen towns, in addition to landslides and blockades of roads.
Biggest Rains Ever Recorded
Rainfall of up to 100 millimeters per hour, with 800 millimeters accumulated, have been recorded in this region. These are levels that have never been observed in the region’s history. In the other three regions put on alert, the level of rainfall is also the highest recorded in decades at this time of year in Japan, considered the rainy season.
The meteorological department projections have led local authorities to order the evacuation of more than 250,000 people in the four aforementioned and other neighboring regions. However, these procedures have been hampered by precautions to avoid possible coronavirus infections.
The JMA anticipates that the torrential rains will continue in the southwest of the country for the rest of the day on Monday and Tuesday, and recommends that the inhabitants of the affected areas should remain in their homes, as long as they are safe or move to the evacuation centers established by the authorities.
Japan’s annual rainy season is normally characterized by heavy and deadly floods, accompanied by landslides. Japan is a fairly mountainous nation, and most of its rivers are relatively short and steep.
Boasting of a population of about 127 million people, it’s population density is very high, and most of its residential and industrial areas are situated in lowland areas, along rivers. These areas are highly vulnerable to floods.
In late June through mid-July 2018, continuous heavy rains that were witnessed in the southwestern region of Japan led to widespread, devastating floods and mudflows that claimed the lives of at least 155 people and left behind massive losses and damages.